Review 1788: Miss Plum and Miss Penny

At 40, Miss Penny leads a full life in the village. She has her village activities and her two close friends, Hubert, the vicar, a timid widower with a son, and Stanley, a self-pleasing fussy man. Miss Penny always receives a birthday letter from George, the suitor her parents disapproved of, but this year it doesn’t arrive. Miss Penny is hurt and begins to wonder what her life would be if she had left with George.

On her way to the movies, Miss Penny stops a woman from drowning herself in the duck pond. When she finds out the woman has no money and nowhere to go, she takes her home and is soon nursing her through an illness. Miss Plum turns out to be a whiny neurotic who bursts into tears and complains about her hard life. She also shows a tendency to hero-worship Miss Penny.

This darkish comedy shows an insight into human character, for you needn’t make the mistake of thinking Miss Penny’s efforts are rewarded with gratitude. In fact, she is soon consumed by only one thought—how to get Miss Plum out of her house.

This fun novel is filled with eccentric characters. I enjoyed it a lot and was happy to read it for my Classics Club list.

O, The Brave Music

The Stone of Chastity

All Done By Kindness

12 thoughts on “Review 1788: Miss Plum and Miss Penny

  1. Jane January 20, 2022 / 9:42 am

    I do like dark humour – does Miss Penny take her back to the duck pond?! I haven’t started on this series yet, but they all sound brilliant reads!

    • whatmeread January 20, 2022 / 10:58 am

      I love these Furrowed Middlebrow books.

  2. Christine January 20, 2022 / 10:04 am

    I bought this when it was released but haven’t gotten to it yet. I have, as usual, overscheduled my reading for January & February, but it looks like fun and your post makes me want to move it up on the TBR!

  3. Janakay | YouMightAsWellRead January 20, 2022 / 12:30 pm

    So nice to find a fellow fan of this marvelous novel, which I read about a year ago and loved. Miss P&P was fun to read, funny & had something to say about human nature without being too dark (at most, it had a gentle melancholy in a few spots). This one went on my “will re-read one day” list.

  4. historicalfictionisfiction January 21, 2022 / 8:19 am

    I bought this a while ago, and hadn’t gotten to it yet; your review gave me the little boot I needed.

    I read it last night, and was very pleasantly surprised. It was SO refreshing to find a single woman who was happy and satisfied with her life. I can’t think of another novel in which this is the case. I especially appreciated the fact that it was the small, everyday occurrences that enriched Miss Penny’s life, as well as the very clear-eyed picture she had of the men available to her.

    I’ve known some Miss Plums, and one experience is all I needed to steer clear of all the others.
    Miss Plum reminded me very strongly of Una Grey in “High Rising,” and Fanny Davis in “They Gypsy in the Parlor.” But the confrontation scene in this book was SO much more rewarding, and the ending was perfect: if ever two people deserved one another, it’s George and Victoria.

  5. Davida Chazan January 22, 2022 / 10:28 am

    Hm… sounds good. I wonder why they didn’t offer any of these to me… hm…

    • whatmeread January 22, 2022 / 11:17 am

      Did you get some? You can ask them for what you want. I just got two new D. E. Stevensons from them.

      • Davida Chazan January 23, 2022 / 1:20 am

        I got two Stevensons as well, but none of these. I haven’t gotten to the second Stevenson, yet. If I have a window, I’ll ask if they have one of these they’re willing to give me.

      • whatmeread January 23, 2022 / 1:01 pm

        I haven’t started them yet. Just got them yesterday!

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